One woman’s journey after she learned The Cosby Show was based on her family in the 1980s.
By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. | @annmarieadams
What if I told you that The Cosby Show was partly based on me and my family during the 1980s? You would probably not believe it. But it is true.
That’s the conclusion after a seven-year investigation by private investigators and government officials. Providence guided us during this lengthy investigation when I lived in Avon and political operatives prepared me in 2014 to run for Congress against former Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.
This fortuitous story began when former President Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica on April 7, 1982. During that one-day visit, Reagan’s security detail reportedly made contact with me and my family. My father was a electrical engineer while working at the Government Printing Office. He owned a home in a suburb of Kingston. And my mother worked with a transportation company. If former President Barack Obama did not visit Jamaican on April 9, 2015 while I was covering the White House, I wouldn’t have believed this story. That’s because it was Obama’s first visit as president, and only the second sitting president to visit the Caribbean nation since its independence, according to MSNBC.
Also at play were these facts: In Jamaica, we were a middle-class family Reagan’s cabinet allegedly felt they should watch. After Reagan’s visit, several individuals made plans to put a family sitcom together. And it was called The Cosby Show, according to sources close to the U.S. federal, state and local governments. The show aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992.
Bill Cosby first pitched the show about a working-class Honduran family. My father’s ancestors are from Honduras. We had a wonderful life that included Sunday dinners and picnics in the park; but we weren’t exempt from obstacles. Although The Cosby Show was mainly focused on Cosby’s observations of family life, some of those observations were of my family. Moreover, the basic concept of the middle-class family depicted on the show is evident in my family: My older sibling wanted to be a doctor. Also, I wanted to be a lawyer since high school. Those plans of ours were interrupted by government officials, according to sources close to the investigation.
In previous interviews, Cosby also stated the original conceptualization of the show: a working-class family that raised a successful child. (side note: Cosby’s wife suggested the show be based on a well-to do family). The original premise and casting choices for the sitcom, however, reaffirmed the initial concept in the pitch that was identical to my family and me.
So I’m telling my story.
Several scenes were points of recognition of my family’s life in Jamaica and the U.S. I also learned during the investigation that the casting directors and writers had our family in mind when they selected the actors. There are frighteningly similar traits in my family and the characters on the show. And a picture of The Cosby Show family and my family bear a striking resemblance. For example, Denise Huxtable is my doppelganger–and the investigators discovered the character’s traits are similar to mine. Theo is my brother’s doppelganger and a few scenes reflect the relationship with him and my father. Vanessa is my sister Andrea’s doppelganger and several scenes reflect her relationship between us. Rudy’s character is based on my brother. Articles about the casting claimed that the casting directors tried to find a boy at first but they couldn’t; so they used a girl for the role. Rudy is my niece Janel’s doppelganger. And the character Olivia is my other niece Franchista’s doppelganger. The optics are dead on to claim theft of services and intellectual property infringement.
Other similarities include Sondra, who shares traits with my cousin Carleen. Elvin is based on my brother Lloyd. Also, Aunt Vi is based on my cousin, Doreen, Lt. Martin Kindall, Denise’s husband is based on my cousin, Raymond. And of course, Claire Huxtable was based on my mother and older sister, Marcia. The patriarch of the television family, Cliff Huxtable portrays similar traits as my father. Huxtable is my father’s doppleganger.
In addition to those facts, several scenes were premised on the interpersonal dynamics of the relationships between me and my sisters, brothers and cousins. This was too much of a coincidence to those who were investigating us during the recent investigation and prep for Congress. The public must know that The Cosby Show itself is a creation by several actors, comediennes, writers and producers who may be unfamiliar with our family. However, a few undisclosed individuals close to recent investigation of Bill Cosby and the creation of the show gave me this information. So the very idea that it was based on our family was plausible to investigate further, officials said. I also learned that the 1990s spin off, A Different World, was based on me and my years at college. And the show, That’s So Raven, was based on my niece, Franchista.
Why we were picked for this social experiment will perhaps remain a secret to Reagan, his staff and others close to the show. The Caribbean’s strategic location to the Panama Canal gave us a clue as to why our family was at the center of a Cold War project. We requested other documents to uncover this mystery and are still waiting. Also, the United States Secret Service has disallowed open documentation of Reagan’s visit to Jamaica in 1982. But one thing was clear. After this revelation to me while I was covering the Obama White House, my family and I were the victim of a hate crime.
Looking through old photographs, it was clear that the casting director used our family’s faces as a guide to casting those on the show. They were, indeed, our doppelgangers. The old pictures confirmed that much. After discovering we looked like the actors who were selected for the pilot season that debut on September 20, 1992, we all were the victims of a hate crime to assault our faces and distort our images on television, print and with online photos of us.
This insidious plot to strip us of our individual identities and image as a middle-class and Christian family the show was based on also included an incredible effort to secretly strip us of our financial resources, including houses, cars and jobs. All this orchestrated crime during the long investigation was to hide our true identities and our impact on the show. Therefore, this sinister approach to the secret investigation must be addressed with force.
Perhaps the Bill Cosby trial in Philadelphia was divine justice when he was indicted on a day close to my father’s birthday. Also, Cosby failed to acknowledge our contributions to the show and as a result, his new family comedy slated for 2015 was canceled. But the United States State Department, state, city officials and other individual used to invade our privacy owe us more than an apology.
We are asking for the perpetrators of this crime to be held accountable with prison time–just like Bill Cosby–for the evil and covert attacks on our family to cover up this truth in the country.
Enough is enough. We want restorative justice.
Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and U.S. History Professor. She is also the founder of The Hartford Guardian. Previously, she was a journalist at The Hartford Courant, People Magazine, NBC 4 New York, the Washington Post and other regional publications and television newscasts.